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Rick Lagina in a large pit

12 treasure that could be under Oak Island

What is buried beneath Oak Island? It's a question that has puzzled generations of adventurers and one that the Lagina Brothers are desperate to solve

Image: Rick Lagina | The Curse of Oak Island

As the Lagina Brothers continue their search to uncover the 220 year old mystery of what lies beneath Oak Island, Nova Scotia, in the new series of The Curse of Oak Island, we propose the 12 most convincing theories.

1. Pirate Treasure

The most popular theory claims Oak Island holds the buried treasure of a 17th Century pirate named Captain Kidd. According to local legend, a dying sailor on Kidd’s crew claimed that £2 million worth of treasure was buried on the island. Treasure hunters in the 19th Century uncovered a large stone from the fabled Money Pit containing symbolic inscriptions said to read,“Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.”

2. Spanish Naval Treasure

Dan Blankenship, an Oak Island treasure hunter for over 40 years, believes a marauding 16th Century Spanish galleon, filled with gold from the Americas, was forced to dock at Oak Island after suffering damage from bad weather. The crew buried their treasure intending to return later on with a more sea-worthy ship. Needless to say they never returned.

3. Shakespeare's Manuscripts

Some people have suggested Sir Francis Bacon, a 16th Century author, was actually the man behind the works of Shakespeare. Evidence from a piece of parchment paper uncovered from within the Money Pit has given rise to the theory that Bacon’s original manuscripts lie under Oak Island.

4. The Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant

Religious military order known as the Knights Templar amassed a great treasure said to contain the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. With Templar symbolism discovered on the island, including a Christian cross formation of rocks, there are some that believe Oak Island became the final resting place of the Templar treasure.

5. A Viking Ship

One theory suggests the Money Pit is actually a Viking ship, sucked in by the quicksand like surfaces on Oak Island and turned vertically during the sinking process. The wooden planks separated at regular intervals in the pit would then be explained as back rests for the rowers.

6. Marie Antoinette's Jewels

During the French Revolution of the 1700s, it is said Marie Antoinette instructed her lady-in-waiting to take her jewels and flee. Most of those jewels have been missing ever since. Some believe the maid fled to Nova Scotia with the help of her royal connections, and aided by the French Navy, constructed the Money Pit as an elaborate vault to house the jewels.

7. Money from Fort Louisbourg

Fort Louisbourg was a Nova Scotian French fort which was surrendered to the British after a siege in the mid 18th Century. The Money Pit on Oak Island is said to be French and naval in style, therefore certain researchers have argued it contains monies from the fort, smuggled out before it fell to the British.

8. British Imperial Treasures

In 1762, British forces besieged and captured the Cuban city of Havana, discovering a large sum of money in the process. With a naval base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it’s been claimed the British buried their imperial treasures on nearby Oak Island to prevent them falling into the hands of American revolutionaries.

9. Freemason Artefacts

The discovery of Masonic markings, symbols and artefacts from around and within the Money Pit have given rise to the theory that it is in fact a Masonic secret vault, created by the Freemasons.

10. An Ancient Coptic Pit

Some have argued the symbols on the stone uncovered from the Money Pit were similar to the Coptic alphabet and when translated spoke of strict Christian religious practices. This has led to the theory that Coptic Christians from Egypt came to Oak Island and constructed the pit.

11. A Tar Kiln

It is suggested that Oak Island was once a tar-making location as part of the the British Naval stores industry. Author Joy Steele writes a convincing argument that the tar-making kilns of the time look a lot like the Oak Island Money Pit.

12. A Sinkhole

At least one sinkhole has been uncovered on Oak Island as well as many others on the nearby mainland. The soft ground in a sinkhole would give the impression that it had been dug up before.